Gun Control Heads for Showdown This Week

Bipartisan deal on background checks could be coming
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2013 7:57 AM CDT
Gun Control Heads for Showdown This Week
In this Dec. 17, 2011 file photo, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

It's a big week for gun control supporters, as the issue heads to the Senate floor this week. Democrat Joe Manchin spent the congressional recess looking to forge ahead on background checks with GOP support, and he and Republican Pat Toomey have spent the past few days hashing out a bipartisan deal, the Washington Post reports. The proposed measure is expected to require background checks for almost all gun buyers, with the only exceptions being sales between close family members and some sales to hunters—thus addressing the key Republican concerns over background checks. The move comes after weeks of negotiations between Manchin and other senators stalled.

  • What's in store this week? President Obama and his team are starting an aggressive pro-gun-control push today with a speech by the president in Connecticut; Joe Biden and Michelle Obama also have events planned this week, and any deal Manchin and Toomey come up with is expected to be announced tomorrow or Wednesday.
  • Will there be a decision this week? Harry Reid will likely be quick to include that deal in the bill, which already includes plans to expand background checks, increase federal funding for school security, and make gun trafficking a federal crime. But Republicans could use procedural rules to delay the process—and thus any decision—into next week (at least 13 are already planning a filibuster).
  • What about other gun control changes? Other potential amendments to the main bill, like bans on assault weapons or high-capacity magazines, are considered unlikely to pass, but expanded background checks enjoy wide public support.
  • Just how many bills are there? At least three different bills address background checks, and Democrats must decide which one to advance, Politico reports: Manchin's, which does not require expanded background checks for private sales; Tom Coburn's, which calls for universal background checks with quite a few exemptions; and Chuck Schumer's, the most expansive bill, which is only backed by Democrats and would likely be defeated.
Click for Gabrielle Giffords' latest call for universal background checks. (More background check stories.)

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